Woman says jail officials didn't heed late brother's medical complaints

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 6, 2013

The sister of a recently deceased man claims he died after officials at the jail at which he was incarcerated failed to take his medical complaints seriously.

Helen Burrage filed a lawsuit Feb. 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Wexford Health Sources, Dr. Vipin Shah, St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson and St. Clair County.

In her complaint, Helen Burrage alleges her brother, Billy Burrage, was being held at the St. Clair County jail when he began complaining of constipation, vomiting and heart pain on March 12, 2012.

Despite Billy Burrage’s complaints, doctors failed to undertake a series of actions that could have saved his life, such as ruling out hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis, according to the complaint. They also failed to conduct finger glucose testing, failed to order intravenous hydration, failed to take his vital signs every four hours and failed to monitor his condition, the complaint says.

Helen Burrage names Shah as a defendant, saying he negligently failed to convey her brother’s medical condition to infirmary personnel, failed to transport Billy Burrage to the infirmary to monitor his vital signs, failed to convey to the infirmary’s doctor that Billy Burrage had become non-responsive and failed to adequately monitor Billy Burrage’s condition.

In turn, Billy Burrage died at an unspecified date, causing Helen Burrage to lose her brother’s companionship, comfort and society and to suffer grief and sorrow, the suit states.

In her complaint, Helen Burrage seeks a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs.

Gregory L. Shevlin of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-65.

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